We sneak a peek at Shuttle's modular notebooks

COMPUTEX — Back in February, we told you all about Shuttle's notebook ecosystem initiative, which involves modular notebook components and two standard form factors: microSPA for thin-and-lights and SPA for regular-size systems. At Computex this week, we got to see some of these modular laptops—and their components—in person.

The most interesting was perhaps the B11IV01 model, which has an 11.6" display and Intel Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage internals. Shuttle told us this machine should sell for about $350-400, although we weren't told if that price included an operating system or not. (The company showed Windows 7 running on the system, in any case.)

As far as we could tell, the build quality and thickness are about on par with that of 11.6" CULV systems from the likes of Acer and Asus. The touchpad doesn't feel half bad, either—and Shuttle is working with lots of touchpad makers, so PC vendors building SPA and microSPA laptops should have plenty of choice there. Shuttle seems to give those PC vendors a fair amount of freedom in what they build, as well, offering to cover 50% of the tooling costs for, say, a new palm rest design. (We asked if, hypothetically, a vendor could make a microSPA laptop with an all-aluminum chassis; we were told they could, and that the hypothetical vendor wouldn't have to order more than a few hundred pieces.)

Shuttle says it has shipped 160,000 systems based on its modular form factors in the past month or so, and it expects to see adoption increase in the future. The company is also welcoming others to join in. When we asked if we might one day see Asus and Gigabyte offer replacement motherboards for SPA or microSPA notebooks, Shuttle replied in the affirmative, saying it wanted to work with those companies.

Check out our image gallery below for more shots of the B11IV01 plus bare SPA and microSPA motherboards.

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